I had one aim, and one aim only for my Hong Kong layover – eating.
That wasn’t my original plan actually. I had intentionally scheduled a six-hour layover in Hong Kong because I wanted to meet Matt – he was just one of those friends whose presence only was just comforting in itself and reassuring. However, when he and his partner came to Singapore a month prior, he was neither of those things. During our time together, he seemed unsympathetic to uninterested to my grievances, paying more attention to his partner instead. It was a tad heartbreaking, actually. I’ve long been the listening ear to so many people, but few seem to really want to listen to what I’ve got to say. They just hear, they don’t listen. They assure that if you need them, they’re just a call away, but the truth is, when you need them, they’re never there. I left them that faithful October’s night at Raffles City disappointed while tweeting how excited I was to meet them. When he told me he wouldn’t be free on the morning I’d be in Hong Kong, I didn’t flinch one bit. You learn, and that’s what I did.
Empty paid linkway between Central and Hong Kong MTR stations
Tsuen Wan Line train at its southern terminus at Central station
With the quick Airport Express and efficient urban rail system, getting around the streets of Hong Kong is simple. The conveniently located station at the airport is literally, steps pass baggage claim and customs. Having already changed Hong Kong Dollars in mostly small denominations at Changi Airport the previous evening, I manage to bypass the long lines at the manned counters. There was the airport pass, which promises a cheaper return fare, but I wasn’t sure whether I’d have enough time to return to my destination station, so I give it a pass. In just twenty-four minutes, I get off at the final stop at Hong Kong station in Central. The elevated promenade towards Central Pier outside the IFC has become one of my favorite places to people watch and view the urban scenery. The weather, just under 20 degrees this morning, was pleasantly cool enough. The fragrant harbor, tinted by the overcast sky and light drizzle, paints the metropolis in an eerily quiet grey tinge. Almost alien, it was rather surreal taking in the sights of once familiar places with nobody around. Shops are closed, the urbanity lifeless – most shutters will remain down for at least four more hours. With nothing else to do, I hop back into the subway for Kowloon.
My gastronomic expedition this morning was bold. I had planned to have not one, but two full breakfasts, not back to back, but with at least a three-hour interval. To deny myself this rare chance would be a huge regret I’d be carrying. It probably wouldn’t be as painful as the chains of regret I still bear right now of telling a reanimated Andy that “I love you, but I think we should remain strangers”, but it’d be quite close in terms of magnitude.
Despite having visited Hong Kong more than ten times, particularly with my family in my younger days, I have not tried or heard of Australian Diary Company. Thinking about it, it’s really peculiar since it’s in Jordan – a favorite haunt of the family’s. By 2004, I was getting really sick of Hong Kong, but it’s only in “recent” years that I’m beginning to see Hong Kong in a whole new light. Maybe it’s because I’m now of age, I like different things, but I feel like I’m rediscovering a city that I thought I’ve known my entire life (so far). The city’s certainly intriguing, yet still not worth to warrant a dedicated visit, though. Located at Parkes Street just off Jordan MTR station, Australian Diary Company is a quintessentially Hong Kong institution. This local diner is highly regarded for its steamed milk puddings, but what this place is truly well-known across the globe for, are its eggs. Not just any egg – scrambled eggs. As someone who loves this style of yellow, I had to make my pilgrimage to taste it for myself to see if the hype was really worth all that praise.
Coming from the subway station, it was fairly easy enough, but I don’t think I’d have successfully navigated if I was at ground level. Even so, I almost missed it. Perhaps it was still very early, and the weather was rather chilly, but the shutters were two-thirds down. It wasn’t until I spotted several customers bending down, maneuvering under the narrow opening did I notice it was actually there, not to mention, open. I did the same, and in no time, I was seated, and was caught in the centre of a hidden bustle of the weekend rush hour.
It’s a well-oiled machine, and the staff seem to assume you know how everything works. On Trip Advisor, there are several comments about the service being rude – I didn’t get that at all. When I didn’t understand certain etiquette, they patiently explained to me how it all is. Here’s the thing, they make you work for food. Not literally, but it’s impossible to order the iconic scrambled eggs with soft toast a la carte. You can only order a choice of four breakfast sets in the morning. The HKD 26 set puts you through an agonizingly saline rich macaroni and ham soup which was, yes, salty, yet hearty at the same time. I must say, I quite enjoyed it. Chow down the briny course, for the pay off that awaits is worth every single spoon. I can’t quite put any adjectives to it, but I must say, it really is worth the hype. It had just the right balance of milk and eggs – not too creamy, not too dry, not too runny. It was quite honestly, one of the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten. The icing on the cake, the soft toast, was silky, tender and furnished with a warm, creamy butter, and complemented the eggs really well. I wash the whole thing down with a hearty cup of good ol’ Hong Kong style milk tea.
I was ready for round two.